Meet Our Staff & Chef


Vanessa got her start in the restaurant industry as a hostess when she was 18. She started working at Celebrations as a server in August of 2004, and that’s where she developed her appreciation for the whole fine dining experience and “making a night of it, not just getting in and out,” she says. Vanessa’s love for etiquette shines in 36’s dining room, where she greets customers by name and makes them feel at ease.

John Eric also began his restaurant career at Celebrations, working catering jobs and parties in the Marquette tower. John Eric had dreamed of opening up a restaurant on the beach, and with Water Street and the Mighty Mississippi in 36’s back yard, he isn’t too far off! A picture over the bar of his Grandpa’s drive in restaurant in Cairo, Illinois is a testament to his family's history in the restaurant business.

Vanessa’s menu picks include the pan-seared scallops, the 36 wedge salad, and the California Halibut, and John Eric’s favorite is the certified Angus beef tenderloin filet; “It’s the best quality product possible, done right,” he added.

Houston Sutton

Chef Houston Sutton has loved being in a kitchen as long as he can remember, tracing his culinary beginnings to cooking at his grandmother’s side in her kitchen. Sutton is no stranger to exciting, technique driven food with an education from L’Ecole Culinarie in St. Louis (he loved every minute of it), as well as time spent working at Chaumette Winery under Chef Adam Lambay and under Chef DeWayne Schaaf at Celebrations.

“At 36, I was given the opportunity to have total creative freedom, and I have the pleasure of working beside a staff that is passionate about what they do and genuinely care about the food being served,” he says. “My favorite item on the menu, hands down, is the Steak and Frites. The sirloin that we use has such a great beefy flavor and the combination of the aioli and house made steak sauce really sets it off!”

You’re in excellent hands with Chef Houston Sutton, who aims to “give people the best product I can, and that can’t happen without mixing a little love into everything that comes out of my kitchen.”